Mental illness and mistaken gunfire: Body cam footage shows man shot by deputy -

2022-06-15 10:48:08 By : Mr. Deming Dai

Officer involved shooting in Jackson County

JACKSON COUNTY, MI -- A deputy who thought he heard gunfire before he shot a 29-year-old man last fall was mistaken.

The unarmed man he shot said he had broken out a window, causing a loud noise police at the scene thought were gunshots, according to video and documents obtained by MLive/Jackson Citizen-Patriot.

On the evening of Oct. 15, 2021, former Jackson County deputy Bradley Reed fired two gunshots at a man he believed to be armed on the grounds of a business in the 2500 block of Spring Arbor Road in Summit Township.

After a three-month investigation, Reed retired when faced with possible disciplinary measures.

This case was referred to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office for review, but no criminal charges were issued against the deputy or the man, who was suffering a mental health crisis at the time.

Since the 29-year-old man was not charged with any crimes, MLive is not naming him.

MLive recently obtained the Michigan State Police investigation report of the incident, along with footage from body-worn cameras of deputies involved with the shooting, through Freedom of Information Act requests.

The footage provided by MSP was redacted, and did not portray the shooting itself. Through a separate FOIA request, a less redacted version of the footage was released by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. The image of the man was blurred out by police. The video in this story has been edited together from both videos.

Shortly before 1 p.m. on Oct. 15, the parents of a 29-year-old man came into the lobby of the Jackson Police Department’s office requesting officers conduct a check on their son, who seemed to be struggling with his mental health, according to a police report.

The husband and wife told officers their son had become increasingly paranoid, and had made threats about getting into a shootout with the police. They also said he took a work truck from his father’s company.

He was last seen at the company’s office in the 2500 block of Spring Arbor Road, police said.

When contacted by MLive, the man’s father declined to comment on the incident.

Deputies were called to the office to try and take the man into custody shortly before 5 p.m. Oct. 15, according to the MSP investigation report.

Jackson County Central Dispatch informed responding deputies, Reed among them, that the suspect might have a 12-gauge shotgun and wanted to get into a shootout with the police, officials said. Once on the scene, deputies set up a perimeter around the building, with Reed stationed by a garage.

At one point in his body camera footage, Reed remarks that he hears yelling inside the building and asks if it’s the man.

Less than two minutes later, Reed appears alarmed when he hears a loud banging sound. Seconds later, two more bangs are heard and Reed is seen raising his weapon in the video.

According to sheriff’s office call records, deputies reported hearing what sounded like gunshots from inside the building at about 30 seconds past 5:07 p.m.

“We have gunshots inside,” Reed announces on his radio.

Seconds later, Reed raises his gun to the tree-line and yells “let me see your hands” twice. A man yells in the background, appearing to say “I’ve got them up,” according to the video.

About a second later, Reed fires two shots at the man, hitting him in the left buttock.

Reed runs toward the man, telling him to put his hands up. The man is seen lying on the ground in the video.

“I can’t move my legs, I’m sorry,” the man says.

Reed radios dispatch to say shots were fired, all while keeping his gun trained on the wounded man and telling him to keep his hands up.

“I think you got my artery -- I’m really bleeding I think,” the wounded man says.

The man continues to shout in pain as another deputy handcuffs him. Reed asks where the man was hit, to which he said he was shot behind the back of his thigh on his left leg.

Reed asks the man if he shot himself, prompting a confused response from the wounded man. Reed seems convinced the banging sounds he heard seconds before he shot was gunfire.

“Why did you shoot out the back window coming running out like that?” Reed asks the man.

“I didn’t shoot, I just like bashed it out -- I didn’t have a weapon on me,” the man answers.

The man asks how much blood there is as the second deputy shifts his now-handcuffed body onto his side.

“You ain’t even bleeding, bud,” Reed tells him. Reed then turns to another responding officer and says, “I need first aid kit now. He’s shot in the ass.”

Reed then walks away from the scene of the shooting.

“I need to back out now because I shot,” he says.

No weapon was found on the 29-year-old man, though a 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition were later found in a vehicle parked outside the building, according to the MSP report.

In the body camera footage from a second on-scene deputy, Reed stated he thought the man was “running at me in the woods” and “coming at me in the woods,” as justification for shooting him.

An investigation into the shooting was launched by the Michigan State Police. Sgt. Brian Buege from the MSP Lansing Post interviewed several witnesses at the scene, as well as the 29-year-old man and his family.

In a conversation with Buege at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital after the shooting, the man’s father recalls his son experiencing mental health issues leading up to the incident.

In the evening of the day before the shooting, the father drove to his son’s house to help him get inside, only to find the house keys hanging from the door lock, the report states. The father said his son had become paranoid about his neighbors, Buege said in the report.

The father began driving home, only to receive another phone call from his son asking him to come over again. The father obliged, returning to help his son pack a week’s worth of clothing so he could come stay with his parents.

While driving back to the father’s house, the man randomly stopped his vehicle in the middle of the claiming to have seen someone shining a flashlight at him from a bush by the road, the father recalled.

The man’s paranoia continued throughout the evening, prompting the father to call police to report his son’s behavior, though he said he did not want officers to take any action because he did not want to upset his son, the report states.

Buege also interviewed the 29-year-old man.

Buege said the man confirmed he suffers from mental illness. He said he arrived at the office on Oct. 15 paranoid that he was being followed.

The man recalled becoming angry when he suspected his father had called the police, telling his father something to the effect of, “I’ve got guns, I’ll fight to the end,” according to Buege’s report.

When interviewed at the hospital, the man could not comprehend why he had been shot, Buege wrote.

Leading up to the shooting, as he watched an officer walk toward the office, the man said he began to close the blinds and place cardboard over the window so nobody could see inside, the report states.

While looking for a place to hide, the man tried to exit through one of the windows, he told Buege.

The man told police he removed a sheet of plexiglass by hand, but he needed to break through a second sheet using a frost pin -- a large piece of metal resembling a tent stake.

Police recovered a large metal spike and a piece of plexiglass next to the building’s basement window at from the scene of the shooting.

The man received a mental health evaluation, and was released from the hospital at a later date after being treated for his injuries, said Lt. Brian Oleksyk, MSP First District Public Information Officer.

Police also recovered a metal container containing a white powder, which was later identified as methamphetamine, according to the evidence report. The container was found near where the man was ultimately taken into custody.

The redacted MSP report does not confirm whether police tested the man for drugs, as this information might be part of hospital records and potentially protected by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act laws, Oleksyk said.

Two separate investigations were launched after the shooting -- a criminal investigation conducted by the Michigan State Police and an internal investigation by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

The internal investigation, requested by Jackson County Sheriff Gary Schuette, was completed on Jan. 12 and states former Dep. Bradley Reed “violated departmental policies that regulate conduct by deputies while handling matters such as this.” The exact policy was not specified.

Reed, facing discipline up to termination at a meeting scheduled for Jan. 13, 2022, retired from the department, ending a 24-year career in law enforcement.

RELATED: Jackson County deputy who shot person on duty violated policy, retires amid investigation

“It is important to recognize that this was a highly charged and tense scene,” read a sheriff’s office statement released Jan. 14. “It required a thorough evaluation of the facts and circumstances to ensure it was handled properly. At the same time, this is not an entirely unusual event. Deputies are often faced with life and death decisions and rely upon their training, and developed skills, to handle these situations appropriately -- and the overwhelming majority of the time they do.

“But, that simply did not happen in this instance, and we must do better.”

The MSP criminal investigation was concluded and sent to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office for review. In a letter released Jan. 26, Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jerry Jarzynka said he believes Reed was acting in self-defense when he shot the man in the buttocks. He did not authorize any criminal charges.

Jarzynka’s review was based off of the Michigan State Police’s investigative report. The narrative of events outlined in this article was taken from a redacted copy of this same state police report.

“In light of the totality of the circumstances as perceived by Dep. Bradley Reed at the time of the shooting, he was justified in the discharge of his service weapon to defend himself, as the facts show he had an honest and reasonable belief that (the suspect) had just fired a weapon and was coming at him,” Jarzynka wrote.

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19-year-old saves two men from drowning in Kalamazoo River

Jackson College classes now offered at King Center. Here’s how to register

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